Trailer Reaction: Bright

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The trailer for Netflix’s Bright starring Will Smith  and Joel Edgerton was one of the many trailers that we’ve been given during San Diego Comic Con!

I’m of two minds about this trailer. Look, the idea of traditional fantasy creatures like fairies, elves, and orcs being a known part of the modern world is one of my favorite fantasy ideas. I also think it’s one of the most underused fantasy subgenres out there. And I basically loved the first minute or so of this trailer which makes the film seem humorous while also hinting at addressing serious issues involving race. I tend to think that Will Smith is at his best when he plays a funny character and the first minute of this trailer contains some peak Will Smith. Love the idea, love Will Smith here, and love the execution.

But then, the music suddenly turns serious and the trailer tells us that this film is “from the director of Suicide Squad, Fury, and End of Watch.” First of all, I’m not sure that I’d be bragging about getting the director of Suicide Squad. I know that lots of people saw Suicide Squad in theaters, but many people also consider it a failure and even some devoted DCEU fans won’t defend it. And I’m apprehensive about the very serious, heavy turn that the trailer takes at this point. The suggestion that there’s a literal magic wand McGuffin isn’t helping me take this movie seriously. I also think that the movie visually has a certain made-for-TV look and I was more forgiving of that when I thought the movie was a comedy. I mean, this movie reportedly cost $100 million to make, but I’m thinking that most of the budget must have went into paying the actors and director rather than into effects.

I would actually love to see this idea made into a television show. I think that doing it as a television show might have given writers more time to develop the different fantasy “races” while also leaning into the idea of making it a police procedural. Fantasy can be a challenging genre to execute well in a single movie.

Still, I’ve got to respect Netflix for giving us a fantasy movie that looks this unique and cool and you even have to go to the movie theater to see it. I think the December 22nd release date is perfect – lots of people will be home for holiday break, looking for a fun movie to watch, but perhaps too busy with the holidays to make it to theaters. I don’t know about you guys, but Christmas always puts me in the mood to watch fantasy. There’s a lot that appears promising about this movie and I look forward to watching it on Netflix.

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